For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Contact: David Heidrich, (207) 624-7453
Director of Communications, Department of Administrative and Financial Services

Office of Marijuana Policy Provisionally Adopts Major Substantive Rules

OMP files provisionally adopted rule with Secretary of State and Legislative Council.

AUGUSTA – The Office of Marijuana Policy, a part of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services, today announced the provisional adoption of major substantive rules regarding Maine’s adult use marijuana program. This important milestone occurs only four months following the establishment of OMP by the Mills Administration.

The adult use marijuana rulemaking process now shifts from the executive branch to the Maine Legislature.

“Provisionally adopting rules to regulate Maine’s voter-approved recreational marijuana program is one of the most significant accomplishments, to date, of the Office of Marijuana Policy,” said Director Erik Gundersen. “While I am proud of the incredible work of my team, none of this would have been possible without the support of Governor Mills, members of her cabinet, and the dedicated public employees who assisted the Office in its expeditious rulemaking work.”

Immediate next steps include review by the legislature’s Office of Policy and Legal Analysis, Legislative Council acceptance of the late-filed rules, and the drafting of a resolve by the Revisor of Statutes that would permit DAFS to proceed with its rulemaking activity. Once these requirements are completed, the resolve would be referred to a legislative committee by the Maine House of Representative and Senate.

The committee will then review the rules and conduct a public hearing. Members of the committee have three options when considering the provisionally adopted rules: accept the rules, reject the rules, or accept the rules with modifications requested. Once the committee of jurisdiction completes its work, the resolve continues through the normal legislative process. Assuming the resolve becomes law, it would become effective 90 days after the adjournment of the First Regular Session of the 129th Legislature. DAFS and OMP then have 60 days before they must “finally adopt” the rule. OMP must begin accepting adult use business applications within 30 days of final adoption.

“The provisionally adopted rules are the result of a collaborative effort between the State of Maine, our rulemaking consultants, the public, and the many stakeholders that participated in our public comment process,” added Director Gundersen. “The goal of OMP has been to put forth the best rules and regulations possible, and that would not have been achievable without the valuable input provided by the public.”

For example, due to feedback provided by the public, the residency requirements contained in the proposed rules has been simplified to reflect legislative direction and clarify the burden of proof regarding majority ownership. OMP also scaled back packaging requirements for marijuana products due to added costs to future licensees and environmental concerns raised by the public. In addition, testing facilities may now be located adjacent to other marijuana establishments, provided they have separate entrances accessible from public rights of way.

“The rules we have adopted are a Maine product, developed by Maine residents, to meet the requirements of Maine’s laws, and we should be proud of that,” continued Gundersen. “We now look forward to participating in the legislative process and moving towards legal recreational marijuana sales.”

OMP’s rulemaking filing occurs 13 days after their public hearing on proposed rules to govern the program. The 10-day public comment period concluded at 5:00pm on Sunday, June 2.